Managing fire regimes in north Australian savannas: applying Aboriginal approaches to contemporary global problems

Jeremy Russell-Smith, Garry D Cook, Peter Cooke, Andrew Craig Edwards, Mitchell Lendrum, C Meyer, Peter Whitehead

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Savannas constitute the most fire-prone biome on Earth and annual emissions from savanna-burning activities are a globally important source of greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. Here, we describe the application of a commercial fire-management program being implemented over 28 000 km2 of savanna on Aboriginal lands in northern Australia. The project combines the reinstatement of Aboriginal traditional approaches to savanna fire management - in particular a strategic, early dry-season burning program - with a recently developed emissions accounting methodology for savanna burning. Over the first 7 years of implementation, the project has reduced emissions of accountable GHGs (methane, nitrous oxide) by 37.7%, relative to the pre-project 10- year emissions baseline. In addition, the project is delivering social, biodiversity, and long-term biomass sequestration benefits. This methodological approach may have considerable potential for application in other fire-prone savanna settings. � The Ecological Society of America.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)e55-e63
    Number of pages9
    JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
    Volume11
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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